Thursday, October 22, 2009

Frieze 2009: The Year of the Broom

On Thursday, the first public day of Frieze Art Fair, a fey rather bored gallerist admired his shoes, and as I was about to turn away from the tedium in his booth, I heard him brag that all the works had been sold within the first hour of Wednesday's private view, so the gallery owner simply didn't know what to do with himself. Bring out the violins indeed!

Right: Hurvin Anderson @ Thomas Dane Gallery, featuring a bucket made of records.

Left: Stella Hamburg bronze at Galerie Eigen & Art.

While Frieze definitely had less brash oversized works, less adventurous installations or booth-deconstructions, and certainly no Icelandic disco (Club Nutz was a bust when I poked my head in), by all reports the art market has survived, and for that we should be grateful. With less bombastic one-offs, but sadly less fun booths, this year's Frieze provided an underhanded sense of humor about the recession, as exemplified by one booth with empty store shelves of white pegboard. At a Polish gallery, a banner screamed "Long Live Capitalism", and the recession-chique theme continued with not one but three (!) sculptures of life-like brooms and mops. One artist even went on about all the analogies in cleaning up/making art, and the exceptionally humble prop was a great wink at art fair glitz. Will Miami Basel bring us Q-tips and sponges?

Left: Richard Hughes, at The Modern Institute, Glasgow. Two mops in resin, with rainbow of peeled paper on the wall.

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